Trainer Robert Smerdon is preparing his smart mare Lone Rock to take on the world’s best sprinter Black Caviar in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Smerdon is sticking to the old saying that ‘you have to be in it to win it’ and will line up against the unbeaten Black Caviar who is going for her twentieth straight win which will give her an Australasian record surpassing that of Gloaming and Desert Gold who both had nineteen straight wins.
“There’s an old adage in racing that you never miss a race because of one horse. And who knows? She might not even run,” Smerdon said.
“You don’t go there thinking you can beat Black Caviar but horse racing is horse racing and anything can happen.”
As expected the Sportingbet Classic will attract a small but smart field of fillies and mares with Black Caviar to start the short priced favourite around the $1.05 mark.
Smerdon had planned to start Lone Rock in last Saturday’s Group 1 $350,000 The James Boag Galaxy (1100m) at Randwick won by Temple Of Boom but had a change of heart when Sydney was deluged with rain early in the week.
Smerdon is going to Adelaide with the confidence that Lone Rock will be competitive having won last year’s Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville from Golden Slipper winner Crystal Lily.
“She’s going well and she has good form at the track and distance so if you take Black Caviar out, you’d have to think she would be a big chance of winning it,” Smerdon said.
Lone Rock is coming off a fourth to Foxwedge in the Group 1 $400,000 Power Tracker William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 23 and it won’t be the first time she has come up against Black Caviar.
Three runs back the Fastnet Rock mare wasn’t disgraced when fifth, finishing less than five lengths behind Black Caviar in the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18.
Mark Zahra will take over the reins on Lone Rock from Craig Williams who will be riding in Sydney and has the plum ride on Americain in the Group 1 $500,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
Stable rider Luke Nolen will try to keep his usual low profile leading into Saturday’s engagement with history and will be at Caulfield on Tuesday to put Black Caviar threw her final paces before travelling to Adelaide.
Nolen has had to relinquish the ride on the Peter Moody trained Manighar who will be ridden by Damien Oliver in the Queen Elizabeth after steering the grey to three straight Group 1 wins over the Autumn, the $1m Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10, the $400,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 24 and the $2.25m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on April 7.